Album Reviews

WhoMadeWho – The Plot

(Gomma) UK release date: 23 March 2009

Who knew Danes could be so funky? Stepping on from their 2005 self-titled debut – on which, by all accounts, the funk was laid particularly thickly – it seems there is still more than enough to go around, and WhoMadeWho are just the type of band to indulge us.

Tomas, Jeppe and, er, Tomas are back, and with them they’re bringing their now-trademark extended grooves, sultry vocals and dirty, Bowie-esque bass lines. And those skeletal cat suits that mesmerised an unsuspecting main stage crowd at Benicassim 2007, of course.

Album opener, TV Friend, creeps into earshot like a Hitchcock murder scene, quivering with malice. Then there’s the falsetto harmonies. Then there’s the irresistible bass run. And then there’s the ESL lyrics, delivered deadpan. Brilliant.

According to their website, this opening gambit “harnesses such diverse artists as Human League, ELO and Blur into a mutant pop mix adding a disco twist.” On the evidence, it’s hard to disagree, and WhoMadeWho suddenly have another weapon in their increasingly potent arsenal.

And as TV Friend gives way to the title track, the band, admittedly, adhere to the formula. Yet the freshness remains intact, and the LP begins to make inroads into your brain. It’s less walking the road more travelled, more dancing suggestively down it. With a singing Danish bassist as your guide.

It is during Trickster that the ante is well and truly upped; the quiet-loud-quiet dynamic accentuating and concentrating WhoMadeWho’s disarming jauntiness into a heady, intoxicating porter that could please both Howard Moon and Vince Noir in equal measure.

Keep Me In My Plane, similarly, evolves seamlessly into a stripped down funk odyssey about the pacifying nature of long distance air travel. Sounds enticing, right? It is, and it could only be WhoMadeWho.

And that’s when it changes. Trading the indulgent bass lines for glow sticks, This Train rumbles along like a form of tribal rock music, before Office Clerk tumbles breathlessly into altogether simpler territory, and Ode To Joy materialises like a languid Zoot Woman.

The album then, smartly, returns to the house it didn’t finish building with the cheeky instrumental Motown Bizarre, the slightly dreamier I Lost My Voice and the outstanding Raveo, which – while not the closing track – lands its stamp of approval on the LP with the kind of filth the band’s cover of Benny Benassi‘s Satisfaction could only hint at.

By no means groundbreaking, by no means perfect (but neither does it claim to be), The Plot is an easy-to-like, easier-to-love collection of funk-centric, fresh-sounding tracks rooted in a melange of influences and origins that anyone with ears will find hard to resist.

Even the anti-piracy lady, who, on this review copy, frequently interjects with, “It’s Gomma records. Don’t share, baby,” seems to really mean, “Get on your feet and dance how you think a snake would dance.” Whatever that might entail.

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WhoMadeWho – The Plot